Thursday, August 16, 2007

Mark Cahill

One Heartbeat Away: Your Journey Into Eternity

This book is dedicated to Truth.
If you search for it, you will find it.

Irony- 1) The use of words to convey the opposite of their literal meaning.
2) Incongruity between what might be expected and what actually occurs.
3) Dedicating a book of false assumptions and baseless conclusions to Truth.

We are all one heartbeat away from death. Where will you be in 300 million years?

300 million years from now I will be in the same place I was 300 million years ago.

What is the purpose of our existence? Many people think it is just to go to school, party a little, find a job, get married, have kids, attend sporting events, watch their hair turn gray (or turn loose), retire, play golf, and die...Wouldn't it be important to find out where you are gong after you die, and for your family to join you there someday?

I am horrified that Cahill's answer to the purpose of existence is exclusively concern about the life after death. Not about producing anything of value, or making a difference in this life, or leaving the world a better place, but only about himself and his family and their life AFTER they die. Focus on your death and what happens afterwards. What about this life? What about making this life meaningful and purposeful? What about working towards the things you value most now?

Oh- I see, none of that matters, only getting to heaven matters.

He uses statistics gathered by the Barna Group. whose ultimate aim is to partner with Christian ministries and individuals to be a catalyst in moral and spiritual transformation in the United States.

No potential for bias or misinterpretation of statistics in this organization is there? Let's see what they have to say:
- 8 of 10 Americans believe in some sort of afterlife.
- 79% agree that "every person has a soul that will live forever, either in God's presence or absence."
- 1 in 4 adults admits that he has "no idea" what will happen after he dies.
- Two-thirds of atheists and agnostics accept the existence of an afterlife.

He then goes on to sum up Hindu, Jewish, Islamic, Buddhist, Atheist, and New Age beliefs in the afterlife.

"Although we may not realize it, we all have faith in something. In fact, you place your faith in many things every day. You have faith each time you drive that other drivers will stop at red lights. You have faith that the chair on which you're sitting will continue to hold you. Every time you fly, you exercise faith that the pilot is not suicidal and planning to crash the plane."

Faith. He tosses that word around like it is the only way to describe human thought. He uses it as if it is synonmyous with rationality, knowledge, judgment, reason, evidence, experience.

What is faith, to a christian?

Faith- 1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 2 For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. 3 By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.* Hebrews 11:1-3 NKJ

Faith 1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. 2 This is what the ancients were commended for. 3 By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seens was not made out of what was visible. NIV

Faith So the Lord said, “If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you. NKJ

Faith If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it will obey you. Luke 17:6 NIV

Why both translations? Because that crap is confusing enough one time, at least if it is rephrased from a slightly different angle it increases my "understanding".

So what do I "understand" about faith? That it is about day dreams (hopes) and imagination (things not seen) and if I have enough of it I can grow silk worms in the ocean. Riiiight.

How about knowledge outside the christian "faith". Let's try reason.

Reason is the faculty that identifies and integrates the material provided by man's senses.**

I don't use faith when I drive. I use my senses to watch for others around me, including morons that run red lights. I use my mind to make reasoned decisions about road conditions, other drivers, my own vehicle.

When I approach a chair, once again- senses- does it look like a chair capable of supporting me. How does it compare to chairs that I have experienced in my past. Does it have at least 3 legs positioned appropriately to not tip me on my ass when I sit on it? Do a faith check. Nope, not a lot of wistful thinking going on in my brain when it comes to chairs.

If I were to fly, I would research the company- Do they have a good reputation for reliability? Is there any reason to believe or evidence to support concern for the pilot's capabilities? I guess how much I look into it, depends on how paranoid I am being.

When I read tripe like Cahill's I can feel my mind glazing over, the rational part starting to shut down, lose focus. But when I pull back, look at what is actually being said, THINK about the issues he brings up, it becomes one gigantic WTF????

It all comes down to the faith thing. The desire for things hoped for, believing in the unseen. My mind does not accept that as a rational approach to life.

And while I was researching the faith stuff.... check this out...

Hebrews 6:4-6 NIV It is imposssible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.

Hebrews 6:4-6 NKJ 4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.

Looks like fallen christians are fucked. Where's the forgiveness there? Is it just me or does the christian god look for reasons to throw you on the fire? How is an eternity of punishment a just response to the mistakes made in less than 100 years of living??????? Seriously- over react much????

Can you imagine how fast a child would be taken from a parent who beat their child every day of their life for stealing a candy bar as a 3 year old? Isn't that at least partially equivalent to hell?

50 lashes with Daddy's belt for stealing that snickers. Every day. For the rest of your life.

At least the belt would stop when you are dead. But with god? Oh no, death brings no relief. The beating continues for all eternity.

* New King Jammes Version
** Objectivism: the Philosophy of Ayn Rand

So much for the Introduction.


Sean the Blogonaut F.C.D. said...

I have read or skim read Mark Cahill's first chapter available for free ( I wouldn't pay for this tripe).

I am approaching his work from a marketing standpoint. Looking at how he constructs his work. How he convinces the reader, or the uncritical thinker.

I often wonder if books on Atheism should aim a litlle lower in their target audience - but then I supppose they are not in the"game" to convince people quickly. They want you to do some deep thinking while Christians want you to think that you have thought about it deeply.

Interesting that he(Mark Cahill) has a business background, or a least a business degree.
Not a doctorate in theology or any philosophical training.

I did also note that he had a quote by Australian physicist Paul Davies to back up the existance of God.

What "shits" me here is that when Mark Cahill and Paul Davies mention the word God, their understanding of what God is, is lightyears apart.

August 16, 2007 9:29 PM

Fiery said...

And did not reading the first chapter make your eyes bleed and your brain turn to tapioca? No I suppose not, that is my euphemis, is it not?

There is nothing new within it. It is as disappointing as watching Kirk Cameron prove in 3 minutes that there is a god. Or the you-tube clip with the banana that the atheists are suppposed to be afraid of.

... while Christians want you to think that you have thought about it deeply.

That is precisely what I am running into. I read a mind fogging passage and shake myself from it, look back, and there is nothing but smoke and mirrors.

Shadow games. Riddles in the dark.

A waste of time.

Mike said...

I'm a biology teacher. I had a student reading this and challenging me on it. I have no problem being challenged, but when I looked at the book, I found not only is it weak from a religious point of view, but its "facts" are incorrect and have conclusions that are opposite of what those facts imply. I agree with both of you completely.

Fiery said...

Mike, welcome to my blog! Reading Cahill's book made my brain hurt. I still shudder when I remember the absolute garbage it contained. I would love to hear more of your conversations with this student and how you responded to him. Do you have a blog? Or would you be willing to leave another comment here with "the rest of the story". :-D

Again, welcome! I hope to see you pop in again!